Well, is it? I don't know about you but I have found that an activity which started out as a casual side-hustle channel for promoting my blogging has quickly supplanted my blog all together. And I'm not even that active on social media! Facebook is not the time suck here --for the most part I just auto-share my feed content from the other networks to FB because, at least in my case, I have not found Facebook to be a big growth area follower-wise. It's more like an easy way for my close friends and relatives to keep tabs on my writing (Thx for the Likes, Ma!) No the big diversion has proven to be Twitter and to a lesser extent Instagram. Again I don't tweet/insta much --at least not compared to some people-- but I do invest a little time on each network every day and increasingly social networks are the starting point to Shoestring Sally's online presence and not the actual blog. I don't feel good about that. Because it is not the trending tweets and follows that made me want to blog. I had something to say and I'm a chickie who needs more than 140 characters to strut my stuff. So it is time to retool and reassess and in short get back to basics: blog first, tweet later! But it used to be so easy and now it feels damn hard.
Reclaiming my digital center as a wordsmith will require a little discipline because social media is such an easy seducer. It does have its place but is not without its perils, especially for the small fry blogger like myself. Here's 3 things I have learned along the way.
1. Lots of followers do NOT mean lots of readers.
|Graphic available at http://blog.karachicorner.com|
2. If you're understaffed & pressed for time focus on the product.
Big blogs can invest in a social media team-- even if that team is one person it makes it easier for the content creator(s) to focus all the creative energy on content creation. But if you're like me, a creator and promoter in one then it can be easy to let the product fall by the wayside and devote too much energy on selling. What's too much? Anything that diminishes the integrity of the work you're promoting. Making connections and building followers is great but if the end result is you rarely blog anymore and got nothing new to show for it, why bother to keep up the blog site at all? Don't get me wrong, I have found some great new readers via Twitter but percentage-wise my first point holds up: not enough readers find me via social media to warrant a greater investment in promotion over creation.
3. It's easy to love blueberries.
Blueberries are super popular on Instagram. Have you noticed that? So are kittens, closeups of bugs, dandelion puffs, succulent plants, people's feet, lattes... I could go on and on. The split second appraisal culture of social media is a fun but dangerous distraction for the serious writer with a blog to promote. Hey if you want to simply be popular or share pretty berries then by all means drink the Kool-Aid. But if you're still grinding away at this debatably over art form called blogging because you got a love for words and a yen to communicate your story then it is time to check yourself. Are you getting too caught up in the blueberry-loving game? Feeling pressure to tweet when you'd rather extrapolate? Walk away from the network and get back to your work. It isn't always easy. Writing this was a workout! It's SO much easier to post a selfie, right?
Believe me, I know it is hard. Just google the phrases "do people still read blogs" and "should you still blog" and tons of sites pop up with people bemoaning and debating the current state of blogdom. There are times when what I'm doing just feels so 2005 and I want to throw in the towel and retreat into Hashtag Land. But heck, I'm a writer first, last, and always. Writers may wander but they always end up back at the page, be it paper or pixelated. For what it is worth, this is my soapbox (shoebox?). I'm not giving up Shoestring Sally's social media accounts, but I AM going to be giving Shoestring Sally a little more time and attention. It is where my words live, where Sally was born. Any place else is a day trip.